A sailor from Petal is currently serving as the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.
Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, who goes by the call sign “Hak,” reported aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in June 2019. An Iranian-American, he was born in Texas to an Iranian father and an American mother. During his childhood, the family moved to Iran, where they lived until Hakimzadeh was 11. The family was forced to flee the country during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Hakimzadeh and his parents ultimately settled in Petal, and the sailor enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1987. He was selected for a Navy ROTC scholarship in 1988. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in electrical engineering and was commissioned as an officer in May 1992.
The captain has completed eight operational deployments on seven different ships along with four Pentagon assignments. He holds master’s degrees from Old Dominion University, the Naval War College and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
According to the Navy, Hakimzadeh has accumulated over 3,100 flight hours and 815 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
The Harry S. Truman, described as “one of the most formidable weapons platforms on the planet,” houses more than 6,000 crew members and 90 aircraft. Commissioned in 1998, the ship is currently the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 8.
Earlier this year, the ship was assigned to the Persian Gulf due to escalating tensions with Iran over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
On May 29, the ship participated in a large-scale exercise to test the military’s ability to fend off bomber aircraft threatening the U.S. homeland.